Sexiest Jeep Gladiator Upgrade
HERE'S THE BREAKDOWN OF THE PROJECT:
- We used a 2x6 Douglas Fir lumber from the Home Depot that we purchased for about $11.00. here's the link:
- We cut it down to size using our Ryobi Sliding Miter Saw.
- Handles were cut using a Ryobi Jigsaw. We measured from both edges to make sure they appeared even
- Cut both bottom sides at a 45-degree angle to fit the curvature of the bed
- The sides and handles were rounded over using a 1/4" rounding bit and a Ryobi Router
- After routing we used Ryobi 5" Orbital Sander to smooth the wood down
- We finished the wood using the Varathane Early American Classic Wood Stain. We then applied several coats of polyurethane and a spray-on clear coat
- Lastly, we added weather stripping to both ends to keep the separator from rattling around in the back of the truck
The Jeep Gladiator has slots built into the bed itself. The slots are meant to accept a 2x6 board in order to carry a full size 4x8 sheet of plywood. Our need to carry a sheet of plywood is few and far between but having a way to separate your bed is a must for everyday life.
We had Dodge Ram 1500 prior to our Jeep. I was always annoyed by whatever you placed in the back always seemed to find that sweet spot and start rolling around. I never got around to creating a bed separator for our Dodge and instead attempted to be creative and use whatever else was in the bed to prop against the things I didn't want to roll around.
After purchasing the Jeep I wasted no time wanting to get something into place to prevent the annoyance we had with our Dodge. Hence this $11.00 mod came to be.
The first step was to purchase the lumber from The Home Depot. There are several 2x6 boards to choose from. We bought the more "expensive" lumber due to it usually having fewer marks and blemishes on it. When I say more expensive we're talking less than a dollar difference.
We cut the 2x6 to size. We cut it shorter by a half-inch of the opening. We wanted to have room for a bed liner in the future if we decide to do one. At the end of the project, we used weather stripping to close the gap and keep the separator from clanking around while driving.
We cut handles into both sides. You will want to keep the handles more than an inch from the top in order for enough room to get your hand around. We used the bottom of a WD-40 bottle to get the shape of the handles. We also used an angle square to keep the top and bottom of the opening straight. These handles turned out amazing after sanding them down and shaping them.
After all the cuts we used a 1/4" round-over bit on the sides and handles. This cleans up the look of the separator to give a more professional appearance. Our tip is to buy your router bits from Harbor Freight. They last a long time and are a fraction of the cost.
We then sanded the project using two different sanders. We used a belt sander to start in order to get the large imperfections knocked down. We then used the Ryobi Orbital Sander to clean up the board.
After sanding we stained and finished the board with polyurethane, then a clear coat over the top. This may have been a bit overkill but with it being in the bed of the truck we might as well.
JUST SOME THOUGHTS ON THIS POJECT:
- There are a thousand ways to work on a project like this. We use mostly Ryobi Tools due to having several and batteries being interchangeable.
- We used a scroll jigsaw blade to cut the handles out. It was what we had in the shop and worked but a longer blade would have worked better. Make sure when choosing blades you get the right blade for your project. The packaging is pretty clear on which blade works for every type of wood.
- We used weather stripping to tighten up the fit of the separator. We couldn't be happier with doing the project this way due to not hearing it rattle around in the back. Without the weather stripping the 2x6 would have stayed just fine but would have scratched up the slots over time.
For other trucks this project is still very useful. Adjustments can be made to add 2x4 or 2x6 lumber parallel to the wheel wells. By doing so you would be creating 3 storage compartments inside the bed.
Don't be afraid to try new things or afraid of starting a wood working project. Hit us up if you have questions.
There's nothing sexier than responsible cargo control. This is a must have for Costco and grocery store runs. Not to mention not having to listen to all your cargo rolling around in the bed.